Professor Susan Roberts will assume the half-time position of associate dean of the Graduate School on July 1, according to John McCarthy, vice provost for Graduate Education and dean of the Graduate School. Roberts is a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering and director of the Institute for Cellular Engineering (ICE). In her role as ICE director, Roberts coordinates a National Science Foundation-sponsored Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, which provides funding and training to graduate students to prepare them for a range of careers in the emerging field of cellular engineering.

A key feature of the IGERT program is its emphasis on developing the professional skills of graduate students, helping them to succeed as future faculty members, researchers, and communicators of science to the public.

“Sue’s accomplishments are a perfect match to what we are hoping to achieve in the Graduate School,” said McCarthy. “Sue will work with the faculty to develop new proposals for NSF and NIH training grants, and she will work with Graduate School staff to bring expanded professional skills training to graduate students in all fields.”

Roberts, who grew up in Billerica, received her Ph.D. from Cornell in 1998. She joined the Chemical Engineering faculty as an assistant professor in 1998, was promoted to associate professor in 2005, and became a professor in 2012. Among her many honors and accomplishments is an NSF CAREER Award, selection as a participant for the first National Academy of Engineering Frontiers in Engineering Education Workshop, and the College of Engineering Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. Among her research interests is the plant cell culture synthesis of paclitaxel, the active ingredient in the anti-cancer drug Taxol. (February 2013)